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Young children in movie theatres at late shows

July 27, 2008 @ 03:20 By: gordon Category: General

Saturday evening, I went to the late showing of Hellboy II: The Golden Army at the AMC theatres in Kanata with Ken and Brian.  The movie was quite good and most people will probably enjoy it.  But that’s not what this entry is about.

Rather, it is about the father who brought his two very young sons with him.  One was maybe 6 or 7 years old and the other was 4’ish.  Very young kids to be in a move with a rating of 14A in Ontario and that contains a fair bit of violence, but even that wasn’t the real problem.

The problem was the fact the show started at 9:50pm, meaning the actual movie started sometime around 10:15pm or so.  For the first part of the movie, I didn’t notice the kids because they were watching the movie quietly.  But at some point the youngest kid fell asleep and started snoring.

Yes, snoring.

After a couple of pointed glances from myself and other patrons, the father nudged the sleeping kid who stopped snoring and started coughing up a lung.  After a bit, he settled down and then fell asleep again and the cycle repeated itself for much of the rest of the movie.  When the lights came up at the end, the father woke up both of his kids who staggered bleary-eyed out of the theatre.

We were talking about this on the way to our cars after the movie and Ken raised the point that it was late and what was the father thinking bringing his kids to such a late show.  The movie ended around midnight, which is probably too late for them to be out.  Both of them were asleep at the end of the movie, so it’s not like they got anything out of it.

There’s also the question of the suitability of the movie for such young children.  This movie has a rating of 14A in Ontario, meaning it has, among other things, "occasional upsetting scenes that will tend to be more frightening, intense, disturbing – particularly to younger viewers", and there were scenes in Hellboy II that definitely fell into that category.  I recall another movie that was even more violent and inappropriate for young children that a parent had brought their young child to.  The child became scared by the movie and ended up begging their parent to leave, though they ended up staying until the end of the movie.  I don’t recall which movie it was, but I think it was another comic book that had been made into a movie.

So, what’s the solution?  Some theatres offer matinée shows specifically for parents with kids, so maybe they should also offer late shows for adults only.  It was getting to the point that I almost complained to the theatre management on the way out.  It was very inconsiderate behaviour on the part of the father to take his young children to the movie, one of whom seemed sick (one really can’t blame the kids because they’re young and it was late).

If you’re thinking about taking your young children to the movies: Please think twice.  And if you do decide to take them anyway, please be considerate of the other people in the theatre and leave the theatre should they start to fidget, talk, fall asleep or snore, so as not to ruin the movie for the people unlucky enough to be sitting close to you.  And don’t take them when they’re sick.

4 Responses to “Young children in movie theatres at late shows”


  1. Squid says:

    It used to be, maybe still is, a city by-law in St. Catharines that nobody under 14 is allowed into a movie that begins after 9 or 10 PM, irrespective of the rating of the movie or who is escorting the young person.

    That’s the kind of thinking you get on St. Catharines city council.

    In Ottawa you get “let’s ticket people who leave their car door unlocked.”

  2. Trashmo says:

    While I usually berate people without kids when they pass judgement on those of us with subunits, I have to agree with Gordo on this one. I would NEVER under ANY circumstances bring my 4 year old to a 9:50 screening of ANYTHING… especially a movie like Hellboy! She would be waking with nightmares for weeks!
    That being said, it is impossible to legislate common sense. Though good ol’ Ottawa City Council, bless their hearts, is trying!

  3. J. says:

    Usually, I think it’s fine to take little kids to movies…b/c as you all know we treat our 3rd child differently than our 1st child. I wouldn’t think of interrupting my first borns nap schedule, the last one, we’re lucky if he gets a half hour nap in the car riding to pick up everyone else from school! 🙂 so, goes the same w/ what is appropriate w/ movies. I think it’s a case by case basis….and there are other circumstances to consider….maybe that was dad’s last night w/ the kids before returning them somewhere else-mom’s/grandparent’s house or perhaps they were on vacation??? There are SOMETIMES other things involved that I may not know about,which is why I try not to judge,people. Personally, I don’t like scary movies, nor do my kids, and we wouldn’t be out that late anyway…but if we were on vacation, I might consider it….if we have nowhere to be the next day.

  4. gordon says:

    I’m sorry, but no. If that was the dad’s last night with them then he should have done something else with them instead of taking them to the late showing of a movie and have them fall asleep and disturb the people around them. And when the kid fell asleep and started snoring, he should have left. I almost went to customer services after the movie to ask for a refund because of this.

    I’m not saying don’t take your kids to movies. I’m saying take them to movies appropriate for their age at times that are appropriate. Late showing of scary movies satisfies neither criteria.



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